The Benefits of Consistent Training
Over the last few years Total Endurance has taken up most of my time and my own training has taken a back seat. I have still been training, but fairly inconsistently, just when I can fit it in. More to arrest the decline as I approached my 60’s than to improve performance. When the first lockdown started I had a bit more time on my hands so training improved and my sessions became the priority and highlight of my day. Just enjoying the training process again.
Without intending to test myself, about 3 months later I had a steady run round a route I use regularly which takes about 70 minutes. When I looked back through TrainingPeaks, completely by accident I had completed the run 10 seconds faster than I ran it at the start of lockdown, but far more interesting my average heart rate had dropped from 136 in March to 119. Nice improvement in aerobic endurance. If you look at the charts you can see that pace (blue bars) is very similar but heart rate has changed from having a lot of zone 3 and some zone 4 in the 1st chart to nearly all zone 2 in the second.
I also have another route of about an hour which I used to use as a test regularly when training for marathons. Early in April I had a hard run round it for the 1st time in a long time and to say I was disappointed with the time would be an understatement. I had been dreading doing it again but eventually, on a whim, I gave it a go. The result, 25 seconds per mile faster than last time. Still not near where I was 10 years ago but loving seeing some improvement again rather than training to stop getting worse. Amazing what you can do with some good, consistent training, a good mixture of training intensities and a little extra recovery time. Of course, I know all that and regularly preach it to other people but it is good to prove I can still do it. Loving my training again!
Remember improvement comes from consistent training and making small steps regularly, not smashing out mega sessions and then needing extra time for recovery. Oh, and my heart rate has dropped by 11 beats per minute on a 2 hour ride at the same average power.